CLIPPERS FREE AGENTS

Despite six unrestricted free agents, including superstar Chris Paul, and Grant Hill’s retirement announcement earlier this month, the Clippers still have a significant portion of their core under contract.

Three-time All-Star and two-time Second Team All-NBA performer Blake Griffin remains after agreeing to a long-term extension last summer. Fellow starters DeAndre Jordan, Willie Green and Caron Butler are under contract as well as key reserves Jamal Crawford and Eric Bledsoe. Additionally, Maalik Wayns and DaJuan Summers will be a part of the Clippers’ Las Vegas Summer League squad and have team options for next season.

Depending on what happens with Summers and Wayns, the Clippers will have anywhere from seven to nine roster spots to fill this offseason. Including Paul, here are the six Clippers who entered free agency at 9:01 p.m. on Sunday:

Matt Barnes - UFA

Matt Barnes, 32, put together a career year for the Clippers as a member of arguably the best bench in the league. He signed a one-year contract last offseason and it paid off handsomely for the Clippers and Barnes. Even after a slow shooting start, Barnes averaged a career-high 10.3 points per game and finished as a 34.2 percent 3-point shooter. He was the team’s best wing defender, played hurt and provided the kind of toughness and edge that was sorely needed at times. The final game of the season for Barnes was a 30-point, 10-rebound effort in Game 6 against the Grizzlies. Barnes has played for eight teams, including the Clippers twice, and has never signed longer than a two-year deal.

READ MORE: Barnes has bright future after career year

Chauncey Billups - UFA

In a way the season was both triumphant and disappointing for veteran guard and former NBA champion Chauncey Billups. He returned earlier than expected from a ruptured Achilles tendon he sustained the previous season, making his first 3-pointer in his season debut against the Timberwolves on Nov. 28. It spurred the beginning of the Clippers’ 17-game winning streak, but after three games Billups was out again, this time with tendinitis in his left foot. The injury began a series of fits and starts for Billups when it came to being in the lineup. He missed 60 games in all and the fluctuating nature of his availability seemed to cause a sense of “just wait until Chauncey returns” for everyone else. He returned from a groin injury with two games left in the regular season and started all six postseason games, but struggled to find his way. Billups finished his second season with the Clippers after re-signing in the summer of 2012.

READ MORE: Billups hopes to play two more seasons

Ryan Hollins - UFA

The first season playing in his hometown as a professional was a memorable one for the Pasadena native, including opening a Los Angeles-based restaurant and music venue called H.O.M.E.  Hollins sat for long stretches during the season, waiting his turn behind Ronny Turiaf, who is also a free agent. But Hollins was ever-ready. When he got his chance, he proved capable as a backup for DeAndre Jordan at center, providing an athletic shot blocking presence and giving the Clippers effort and energy. He joined the Clippers on a one-year deal the previous summer and has played for six teams since being drafted by the Bobcats in the second round of the 2006 Draft.

READ MORE: Hollins contributes by staying ready

Lamar Odom - UFA

When Odom was acquired last June, two things were apparent. First, it was not as big of a risk as some pundits made it because he was in the final year of his contract and second, if Odom returned to form he could vault the Clippers to new heights. That is where summarizing Odom’s 2012-13 season is complicated. After overcoming fitness issues and a bone bruise in his knee, Odom played all 82 games (only 28 players and two Clippers did so). He was a tremendous locker-room presence and his effort defensively and on the glass (5.9 rebounds per game) made a difference in several games. However, Odom never found his shot. At times, it appeared the only thing holding him back was a lack of confidence. But even after he had consecutive games with a pair of 3-pointers late in February, he never found the range consistently. In 14 NBA seasons, Odom has spent five with the Clippers, including his rookie year in 1999.

READ MORE: Odom shows flashes

Chris Paul - UFA

Not only is Paul the most prolific free agent for the Clippers, but he’s the most prolific NBA free agent in at least two seasons. What Paul has done in two years with the Clippers has been profound. He, along with Griffin, ignited back-to-back seasons with the best winning percentage in franchise history. Last year, Paul was fourth in MVP voting, First Team All-Defense, First Team All-NBA and led the league in assist-to-turnover ratio and steals. The rundown of statistics and superlatives can be strewn into an endless list. The bottom line: Paul has forever changed the Clippers, something that is only enhanced by the signing of Doc Rivers as the team’s new Head Coach and Senior Vice President of Basketball Operations. In two seasons with Paul at point guard, the Clippers are 96-52 (.649) in the regular season. In the three years prior, they went 80-166 (.325).

READ MORE: Steals only part of Paul’s defense

Ronny Turiaf - UFA

Talk about an ideal teammate, Ronny Turiaf, drew praise all season for being the ultimate bench supporter. He was off the bench waving a towel or twirling his hand or screaming encouragement all year. It didn’t hurt that when Turiaf, 30, played he was part of the second most efficient lineup the Clippers used. He only took 97 shots, but had a 50.5 percent free throw percentage and when on the floor with Odom, Barnes, Bledsoe and Crawford, the bench was at its best. Two-time NBA champion Mike Miller spoke highly of Turiaf, who played half a season in Miami in 2011-12. He has been on five teams in five seasons since leaving the Lakers in 2007-08.

READ MORE: Turiaf and Jeff Green part of small brotherhood

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